I Just Shot John Lennon

Album: To The Faithful Departed (1996)


  • Lead singer Dolores O'Riordan explained: "I was reading a book about John Lennon's life. I could relate to the fact that when you're a famous person everybody wants to tell you what you should do and who you should be with. Everybody judges you all of the time. I always thought that people judged his relationship with Yoko a little too much, that obviously the man was in love with the woman, and [people] should have left him alone."
  • For the gunshots at the end of the song, they tried to guess how many times Lennon was shot, and came up with five.
  • The song's title comes from Mark Chapman after he killed the former Beatle. On being asked, "Do you know what you've done?" Chapman replied, "I just shot John Lennon."
  • Two couplets in this song earned the band a lot of flak, as is seemed they were making light of Lennon's death:

    He had perceptively known that it wouldn't be nice
    Because in 1980 he paid the price


    With a Smith and Wesson .38
    John Lennon's life was no longer a debate

Comments: 10

  • Manoj Kumar Vitthal from Delhi, Indiabecause this song was released after 16 years of Lennon's death Dolores song could not face a huge criticism due to her own big fan following...otherwise it was not a good tribute to John Lennon...Dolores failed in her attempt because she could not give right emotions in this song
  • Benjamin from NotmyrealnameNot a very good song or subject matter.
  • Ivette from Los Angeles, CaStupid chapman that killed john lennon r.i.p
  • Jason from State Of Fitz, NjI undrestand people being upset by the title, but it's ripping Chapman and saying how much losing John sucks.
  • John from Seminole, OkJohn was shot five times. He was KILLED by the first shot, or so reporters say, but even interviews with Yoko show that he was shot five times. In one interview, she recalled that she saw Chapman waiting at their apartment, and fled after the first shot, then said she recalled four more shots being fired. Also, in an examination of John's X-rays (there are some on historypost.com), the five bullet wounds are clearly visible.
  • Jade from Sacramento, CaAt the end of the song you can hear gunshots. Not very accurate since he was only shot once.
  • Andres from GuatemalaI don't think you should judge the song just because of the title. I'm saying this because becuase I like the song and I'm a huge Beatles fan. I don't think it's disrespectful to the dead and I don't think it is promoting violence either. I think people should listen to the songs before making a comment on them.
  • Julian from Anaheim, CaI have never heard this song but title sucks!
  • Ariana from Lima, Peruok.. that's stupid.. i hope no-one on earth 'll ever write smth like that again. Lennon promoted peace when he could have promoted anythng.. he's amaizin' and for me he's still alive.
  • Jordan from Ontario, Canadai hate this song: its eerie and disrespectful of the dead
see more comments

Editor's Picks

La La Brooks of The CrystalsSong Writing

The lead singer on "Da Doo Ron Ron" and "Then He Kissed Me," La La explains how and why Phil Spector replaced The Crystals with Darlene Love on "He's A Rebel."

Charlotte Caffey of The Go-Go'sSongwriter Interviews

Charlotte was established in the LA punk scene when a freaky girl named Belinda approached her wearing a garbage bag.

Lace the Music: How LSD Changed Popular MusicSong Writing

Starting in Virginia City, Nevada and rippling out to the Haight-Ashbury, LSD reshaped popular music.

Rupert HineSongwriter Interviews

Producer Rupert Hine talks about crafting hits for Tina Turner, Howard Jones and The Fixx.

Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of WayneSongwriter Interviews

The guy who brought us "Stacy's Mom" also wrote the Jane Lynch Emmy song and Stephen Colbert's Christmas songs.

Dar WilliamsSongwriter Interviews

A popular contemporary folk singer, Williams still remembers the sticky note that changed her life in college.